Johnny Moss – The Grand Old Man of Poker

Johnny Moss

Nationality: United States of America
Total Live Earnings: $1,254,859
HendonMob Ranking: 1st All-Time Best Rank
Info courtesy of TheHendonMob
WSOP Main Event Titles


WSOP Bracelets


Poker HoF


Last update: 2024/05/31


Johnny Moss was an American professional poker player and gambler, best known as a three-time World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event winner. Nicknamed “The Grand Old Man of Poker,” Moss’ poker career spanned several decades, making him a prominent figure in the early days of professional poker.

Moss was the first inductee into the Poker Hall of Fame in 1979. He passed away in December 1995 at the age of 88, leaving behind a lasting legacy in the world of poker.

Early Life

Johnny Moss developed an interest in gambling at a young age. Growing up in Texas, he was introduced to poker in the local saloons, where he worked to oversee games and catch cheaters. By observing the games and using his natural talent, Moss honed his poker skills, setting the stage for his legendary career.

World Series of Poker

Johnny Moss is best known for his achievements at the World Series of Poker. He became the first winner of the WSOP Main Event in 1970, an event organized by Benny Binion at Binion’s Horseshoe Casino in Las Vegas. The inaugural Main Event wasn’t a traditional tournament but a cash game instead, where players voted for the best player, and Moss was declared the winner.

Moss continued his WSOP success in the subsequent years, winning the Main Event titles in 1971 and 1974. This made him, alongside Stu Ungar, one of only two players who have won the Main Event three times. With a total of nine WSOP bracelets, Moss ranks sixth on the all-time WSOP bracelet winners list, behind only legends such as Phil Hellmuth, Phil Ivey, Erik Seidel, Johnny Chan, and Doyle Brunson.

With the ninth bracelet win in 1988 in $1,500 Limit Ace to Five Draw, Moss holds the record for being the oldest player to capture a WSOP bracelet, achieving this remarkable feat just 13 days shy of his 81st birthday.

Throughout his career, Moss earned $834,422 at the World Series of Poker. His last recorded cash was at the 1992 WSOP, where he finished 12th in the $1,500 No Limit Hold’em event for $4,572.

Johnny Moss’ WSOP Bracelets

1970$5,000 No Limit Hold’em World Championship
1971$1,000 Limit Ace to 5 Draw$10,000
1971$5,000 No Limit Hold’em World Championship$30,000
1974$10,000 No Limit Hold’em World Championship$160,000
1975$1,000 Seven Card Stud$44,000
1976$500 Seven Card Stud$13,000
1979$5,000 Seven Card Stud$48,000
1981$1,000 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo$33,500
1988$1,500 Ace to Five Draw$116,400

Other Poker Achievements

Johnny Moss found success outside of the series as well, particularly in numerous high-stakes cash games. He was known for his incredible stamina and ability to play long sessions, often outlasting his opponents, leading to many legendary stories. One of the most famous tales is an alleged five-month-long heads-up poker marathon against Nick “The Greek” Dandolos that took place in 1949. Despite being one of the biggest poker stories, there have been claims that the game never took place, most notably in 2017 when Jack Binion, son of Benny Binion, declared the story a myth.

Moss also contributed to poker literature. In 1950, he authored a book titled How to Win at Poker, sharing his insights and strategies with a broader audience. In 1981, Don Jenkins released Moss’ biography Champion of Champions, detailing the life and achievements of the poker legend.

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